Industryweek 2655 Barack And Mitt

IT's Message to Obama, Romney: Focus on Technology

Aug. 2, 2012
Survey shows need for renewed focus on technology and innovation to maintain U.S. competitiveness.

The IT industry has sent a clear message to President Obama and Mitt Romney on the campaign trail: to maintain our global position, you must focus on technology.

This is according to results of a JZ Analytics survey of 300 IT leaders released this week by political pollster John Zogby at CompTIA's Breakaway 2012 conference

"The industry is clear," he said in his keynote address. "There is a crisis. The United States is at risk of losing its technology leadership edge and that is a significant risk to the nation's future."

According to the survey, 64% of respondents fear a loss of U.S. leadership in the global IT sector and 68% believe that change in U.S. leadership will have a harmful impact on economic growth and jobs. Nearly one third of those surveyed believe it is a priority for government to keep IT businesses in the country.

"As we gear up for the elections this fall, we're finding that messages from the candidates have yet to resonate with the IT sector and the challenges and opportunities before the industry," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, which commissioned the survey. "Despite global economic uncertainties, the United States remains a leader in innovation, particularly in technology. Any candidate hoping to win the support of the industry will need to provide a stronger vision for how we retain and expand our leadership in this growing and vibrant sector."

The survey shows that so far neither candidate has given IT the attention it needs to earn that support. As Zogby noted, the executives' responses underscore a strong sense of disengagement with the current political process and a significant number still undecided as to which candidate would address various IT issues more effectively.

"This late into the political season, we are seeing a high level of disengagement from those in the IT sector," Zogby said. "This is true across company size, specialization and geographic region."

To help this situation, Zogby encouraged the industry to set aside differences between conservatives and liberals or those who want more or less government involvement and "hammer out something in a bipartisan way... the clarity has got to come from you to vive clear direction to both campaigns."

On five key issues -- tax policy, access to capital, small and medium business' tech exports, STEM education and privacy -- the respondents of the surveys gave p[resident Obama a light edge in each category. However, in every instance about an equal percentage indicated no preference between the two candidates.

Who would do a better job as president regarding the following important IT issues that face the U.S. economy today?ObamaRomneyUndecided
Tax policies that promote innovation and jobs in the U.S. IT sector 38% 25% 37%
Access to capital to advance start-ups and business expansion 33% 30% 37%
Expansion of tech exports by U.S. small and medium sized IT businesses 34% 27% 39%
Promote STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) 37% 25% 38%
Ensure privacy as part of broadband, online and mobile policy 32% 26% 42%

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